June 2018


Like football and golf, professional tennis athletes often incorporate chiropractic care into their practice regimen. One of the conditions chiropractors treat players for is tennis elbow—but you might be surprised to learn that the majority of people who experience this condition don’t actually play tennis!

Who Gets Tennis Elbow?

Up to half of professional tennis players and between 1 to 3 percent of the general population are affected by tennis elbow. But don’t let these stats mislead you! Less than 5 percent of tennis elbow cases are a result of playing tennis. “Anyone can develop tennis elbow,” says Dr. Tersigni. “I’ve seen patients who have developed it for various reasons, from lifting weights to yard work.”

Causes of Tennis Elbow

Formally known as “lateral epicondylitis,” tennis elbow is caused by overuse of the muscles and tendons connected to the lateral epicondyle, a small projection of the bone inside the elbow. “Stress on these muscles and tendons from repetitive motions, like swinging a racquet or hitting backhand, cause micro tears,” explains Dr. Tersigni. “This results in inflammation, pain and tenderness on the outside of the elbow.”

Drug Treatments for Tennis Elbow

Often patients are prescribed steroid treatments such as injections or oral medication. These treatments are sometimes necessary and might help in the short-term, but can potentially cause serious long-term damage—especially if usage becomes chronic, such as injections to the same site for the same issues. High dosages of steroid pills—and some continuous injection use—can cause skin thinning, weight gain, acne, elevated blood pressure, osteoporosis and bone softening.

Also, masking pain and symptoms with a drug may cause you to injure yourself further. “Say I sprain my ankle, I get a cortisone shot and I’m no longer feeling any pain,” he describes. “Then I get back out on to the court—but my sprain actually hasn’t fully healed. I’m potentially making the issue I have a lot worse and lessening my body’s chance of healing.”

Chiropractic Care and Tennis Elbow

A thorough musculoskeletal exam can diagnose the problem and chiropractors can adjust your elbow to help relieve symptoms of tennis elbow and jumpstart the healing process. Also, Dr. Tersigni often does soft tissue work, such as Graston Technique, on patients suffering from tennis elbow to help decrease the pain they’re experiencing. During visits he also prescribes exercises and therapies they can do in the clinic and at home.  Finally, we look at the biomechanics of the swing to determine the reason while someone is developing it in the first place. “It may surprise you but a common cause of tennis elbow has nothing to do with the elbow but due to a lack of flexibility in the upper back causing an over-reliance on power generation in the swing.”

If you feel you may be suffering from tennis elbow or any other musculoskeletal condition, don’t hesitate to give us a call or email so we can get you started back on the path to good health.

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Arlington Pain and Rehab


P.S. Have elbow pain or any other pain? Set up an appointment today! 

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